One of the things I like to do when choosing what I should read next is to just go to the library and browse its shelves. You never know what you may find by just looking. Doing so will guarantee you finding a book you might love... or hate. This is why you see fewer and fewer people browsing. Usually, people will do some research and then decide what books they want to bring home to read. Truthfully, I find myself doing that as well. However, I do like surprises from time to time. I like to look through the many shelves at the library or bookstore and just pick one up randomly to bring it home with me. Sometimes I find books that are not worth my time (see my review for Dumb Love to know exactly what I mean), but other times, I find such precious little gems I wouldn't have known otherwise. That's where Orwell's Luck by Richard W. Jennings comes into play.
I didn't think that, when browsing, I was going to find anything interesting. But looking through the children's section proved me wrong. The reason why I chose to take Orwell's Luck home with me was because of the image on the cover. That image? A bunny. That's right! A story about a rabbit! Now, something you must know about me is that I LOVE bunnies. I am a proud owner of my very own bunny named Kurosaki (named after a character from the anime/manga Bleach) and whenever I see anything that has to do with rabbits, I must get my hands on it. Especially if that "thing" is a book about a bunny! Well, long story short, I took the book home with me because it was about a rabbit and I figured that books about rabbits wouldn't let me down. And guess what? I was right! This book is so beautiful, so whimsical, so lovely that I fell madly in love with its simplistic story yet complex understanding of life! It's charming and witty and JUST SO CUTE OMG!
Anyway... ON TO THE SUMMARY!!!
One day a twelve-year-old girl, who has a slight obsession with horoscopes, finds an injured rabbit lying on her front lawn whilst searching for the newspaper. This young girl, upon seeing the rabbit, decides she wants to nurse the poor creature back to health. As she provides food, shelter, care, and affection, she notices that there is something peculiar about this bunny. Whenever something is troubling her, she receives a cryptic message telling her what she can expect to happen to her in the near future. But who could be sending her these glimpses into the future? Why, it's none other than the rabbit, Orwell. Hijinks ensue as the main character tries to come to terms with her life, the meaning therein, and the ownership of a magical fortune-telling rabbit.
I LOVED this book! I thought that it was so cute and charming. Jennings did an amazing job writing a simple story about a precocious girl and how she tackles life with a highly intelligent magical bunny. The writing was so smooth, so easy to follow for readers of all ages. Which brings me to my next point. I adore how Jennings wrote this book. This book was meant for a young audience, however, it was written in a way that appeals to adults, too. The author doesn't "talk down" to the reader. He uses language that is easy enough to be understood but advanced enough to make the child reading want to learn more about its subject manner. Speaking of, on subjects that are slightly more advanced than a child might be used to (an MRI test, certain rabbit types, etc.), Jennings made sure to explain, in detail, what these subjects were. It was so refreshing to see that in this book. Too many times I read children's literature and it's be either too simplistic or too advanced. There is no middle ground. But Jennings found the perfect balance! He found a way to write a story that was simple and engaging enough to capture young audiences, yet kept it advanced enough to not make the child feel like he/she was being treated just like that: A child.
Another good thing Jennings did with his story is incorporating morals and lessons the reader can learn by. In this day and age, it is getting more and more difficult to educate our young. The best way for them to become knowledgeable about life is to allow them to read all kinds of books! Nothing can teach a child like a book can. And I think Orwell's Luck is said book. The morals in this novel are so heartwarming and eye-opening that I think any child will be able to benefit from it. I don't want to say too many of them because I definitely think it's something you should experience for yourself, but there's this one quote that I read that stuck with me and I'd like to share it with you guys.
"Nothing really ends, it just keeps on changing."
I love that quote. It's teaching children that life is not something that will end out of the blue just because it's difficult. No. Life is not like that. It doesn't "end." Things happen, and then you keep going. Things might be different from what they used to be... but it keeps going... and I think that is a wonderful lesson to be teaching children. That no matter how hard life may get, no matter how many setbacks you may face, life still goes on. It goes on... even though everything's changed....
Oh, man. Getting a little emotional here! Can't have that now, can we? >:3
One thing I found interesting about this book has to be that none of the characters, other than Orwell, were given names. Now, I cannot be too sure why this is. After all, I am only a reader. I am not sure why Jennings chose to approach his story in such a unique way, but it is, in fact, very interesting he chose to do so. You don't read too many novels where almost all the characters are nameless. It is something very curious, though. I wonder why Jennings wrote the book like this. Maybe it was a way to show children that we are all the same. Names are just metaphysical inventions created by man in order to be identified by others. It is in no way, shape, or form something that truly describes who we are as a person. We are, ultimately, given our names, no? We don't get to choose them so they don't really describe who we are. Therefore, I believe, that Jennings is trying to teach children that names are inconsequential. We are all people. We are all the same. There's no one person who is better than the other. Names are what we are called by; it doesn't make up who we are.
As one of my favorite anime of all time says, ”All is one and one is all."
But this could all just be speculation on my part. It might just be that he thought it was cool to only give the rabbit a name. Trying to give the bunny an "important" role by giving him a name, which is true! Orwell does have an important role. However, I'd still like to think that I was pretty close in my assumptions the first time. X3
Speaking of important characters! The main character (who I only learned was female through the synopsis within the book seeing as how Jennings doesn't specify the character's gender anywhere in the story itself) is a strong, intelligent, dependant twelve-year-old. She likes basketball, the trombone, and reading her horoscope. She was quite a fun character to follow. I really enjoyed how she tried to understand life. She never backed down from a challenge and even when she felt like luck was against her, she still found a way to get back on her feet. The only thing about her that used to get on my nerves was how careless and clumsy she could be at times. I know that a person can't help it if they are clumsy but when you have a rabbit, you need to be on your toes all the time! They are very delicate and fragile creatures! You need to have patience with them and be gentle. At times, she just wasn't careful enough and nearly got the bunny injured on multiple occasions. Not cool MC. Not cool.
There really aren't many other characters I want to talk about because this story mainly focuses on the main character and Orwell. We have the MC's parents and they were alright but they didn't do much. Same thing with the MC's sister. They were just kind of... there in the background. There is this one boy that the MC makes friends with that appears a bit in the story. He was cute, kind of a pain as he liked to tease her but, overall, harmless. Orwell is the other character that is REALLY focused on. He is the one passing off these hidden messages to the MC to help her in life. He is such a strong, lovely little creature with a warm heart and a strong will. After being injured in such a way, it was thought that he wouldn't make it to see the next day. But the little guy persevered, proving that you can beat the odds if you are willing to fight against them! He was a perfect representation of how you should see life! Of how you should face your fears head on and create something beautiful! Something you could be proud of, even if no one else is. You made it. So be proud! Oh, man! There are so many more things I could say about him and this story but I think I will leave it at that.
As I've said before, I tend to ramble when I read a good book! So what all this is saying is: I really think you should read this book. It's witty. It's whimsical. It's charming. It teaches children all the right lessons. It's just a really well-written, beautiful story that I think everyone should read. Even adults, because adults could learn a thing or two from this book as well. Go ahead and give Orwell's Luck by Richard W. Jennings a try. It will be such a beautiful experience. Trust me. <3